The Cooks three match winning streak came to a crashing end as Division One side Clifton All Whites romped home 4-0 in the heat.
Saturday 9th September 2023
UNITED COUNTIES LEAGUE SPORTS DEVELOPMENT KNOCK-OUT CUP
CLIFTON ALL WHITES (2) 4 COGENHOE UNITED (0) 0
Kalopo 65 (pen)
The Cooks made their first ever trip to Clifton All Whites Green Lane ground in the Preliminary Round of the League Knock-Out Cup to face the team currently occupying 6th place in Division One. I would just like to apologise to our guests today after my comment that the Nottingham suburb was better known for Jake Bugg than its football club, but they do have a proud record of producing talent through their youth set-up with former Football League players Gary Birtles, Jermaine Jenas, Jermaine Pennant, Darren Huckerby and Michael Johnson among the names who went on to make a great career in the game, while current EFL player Tyler Walker has recently joined Lincoln City after three years at Coventry City. Pretty impressive record that thoroughly deserves our respect. The pitch at the Norman Archer Memorial Ground was in superb condition and a real credit to their grounds staff, while the whole set-up is very nice indeed and they have moved on a long way since my visit their some twenty-odd years ago. The only disappointing thing for me was the fact that they now where black shorts and socks which defies their official name, but with the badges on the dug-outs declaring Clifton F.C, they may be about to drop the ‘All Whites’ part of their name altogether.
Scott Carlin made one change to his starting line-up with new father Dalton Leon returning from his paternal leave with Lewis Green dropping to the bench. Tommy Curry was unavailable today, so Sonny Knights was included for the first time since joining the club with Dylan Carlin missing out from last week’s squad. All Whites gaffer Anthony Spencer made number of changes from last week’s team with leading scorer Solace Uyi-Olaye included in those left out of the squad, while Ellis Chambers, Sam Burrows, Aboo Younis, Coden Duncan, Sam Harbottle, Connor Deakin and Callum Smith were all called up into the starting line-up as the home side opted to use the league cup to give action to a number of their squad. The biggest challenge for both teams would be the intense heat as the thermometer went over the 30-degree mark without the slightest hint of a breeze in the air.
An early free-kick for the hosts came to nothing as their short routine was read by Ben Dimond with the Cooks quickly breaking down the left where Kieron Mobbs sent over a cross that Jake Want caught above his head inside his 6-yard box. Damian Osoimoejiokhian hit a decent shot from a few yards outside the box that Want got down to save at his near post and the keeper recovered quickly to block Jack Connor’s effort from the rebound wide for a corner. Cal Farmer sent it over and skipper Sam Leggitt got his head to it to concede another corner on the opposite side that the home side had no trouble in clearing. Leggitt picked out Callum Smith inside the right of the box with a lovely pass and he forced Adam North to get down and make his first save of the game, then down the other end, Farmer fed Mobbs on the left and he sent in a cross that deflected off a defender and looped into the waiting gloves of Want.
Dimond kept pace with Smith as he broke into the box on the left and the Cooks defender blocked his attempted cross, while Farmer so nearly put Dylan Wilson into the box with his lifted pass, but the Cooks leading scorer was really unlucky with his first touch and Ellis Chambers was able to nick the ball away. At this point of the game the Cooks were just starting to look like they might be about to get a foothold on the game, but they were punished at the back on 22 minutes. Leggitt received the ball on the left edge of the box with nobody picking him up and he had time to balance himself and hit a low drive that bounced just in front of North and escaped the keeper’s dive to nestle just inside the far post. I’m sure that the Cooks number one will be disappointed that he didn’t keep this one out to be brutally honest, but he has set himself a very high bar with his performances so far since returning to the club.
Following a sensible water break, the Cooks went looking for an equaliser with Farmer picking out Wilson’s run on the right and he beat his man to send over a cross, but Want wasn’t left wanting as he took the ball cleanly in the air. Clifton almost made it two when a nice move saw Smith run down the left before whipping in a cross that Sam Harbottle couldn’t turn in at the near post. Leon robbed Connor Deakin who appeared to be caught in two minds a few yards outside his box, but his shot flew over the bar, before a good passing move from the Cooks saw Harley Mallard play the ball up to Osoimoejiokhian who steered it to Mobbs on his left and received the ball back on the edge of the box where his shot deflected off a defender and went just the wrong side of the post. North sent Wilson down the left flank with a great kick and he outpaced his man before sending over a cross, but sadly none of his teammates had the same turn of pace and were unable to get up in time to take advantage of it.
Disaster struck at the back for the Cooks on 38 minutes as they conceded what must be the softest goal of the season so far. A long cross-field ball found Smith inside the box just to the left and he managed to touch the ball ahead of Earl Atat before poking it past North at the near post from a yard out. Grabbing at straws a little here, but the move that led to the goal came from an offside decision against the Cooks and with the assistant referee trying to get the ball taken back ten yards to where the offence took place, the referee ignored his flag and let the Clifton player gain a good ten yards advantage. The Cooks could easily have conceded a third before the break after some sloppy defending allowed Harbottle to get in shot from deep inside the 6-yard box, but North managed to block his effort and save our blushes.
The Cooks had a massive task on their hands as they trudged back into the dressing room two goals down on the hottest day of the year so far, but it must have been a very upbeat half-time dressing room for the hosts.
Half-Time; Clifton 2 Cooks 0
No changes at the break for either side, but Biff would soon be the first to alter his line-up as he swapped Jack Connor for Jamie Hall and shortly after the referee had turned back the clock several years by allowing Want to pick up a backpass and go unpunished, Stan Channell came on for Charlie Pearson. By this point in the second half, North had caught a Lewis Hill-Smith ball into the box and the same Clifton defender got his head to a Wilson cross at the expense of a corner after Mallard had made a driving run into enemy territory. Channell touched the ball into the path of Mobbs who slipped it into the feet of Farmer 20-yards out, but his well-struck shot was blocked inside the box.
All Whites made a couple of changes on 59 and 63 minutes with Harbottle making way for David Kolapo and four minutes later Ricco Spencer replaced Smith. Clifton scored their third goal and almost certainly the one that would make the heat feel even more unbearable for the already wilting Cooks. Aboo Younis had made a run into the box under pressure from Earl Atat with the Cooks man catching him before North gathered up the ball and referee Tom Burt pointed to the spot and cautioned the Cooks right-back. Sub Kolapo was the man to take the penalty and he fired it emphatically into the back of the net to all but end Cogenhoe’s KO Cup dreams for another year. The home side made another change before the restart as Jacob Brandon replaced Ellis Chambers.
Biff was to use all his subs shortly after the third goal with Farmer, Osoimoejiokhian and Atat all coming off for the fresh legs of Green, Alex Parkes and Knights who made his Cooks debut. Mobbs defended well to deny Younis getting in a cross and this was to be the final action of the afternoon for the Clifton number seven who made way for the powerful physique of Wayde Hines. North took a high cross under pressure from Kolapo, while Want also made a good catch as he held on to a deep Parkes corner. Mobbs made a goal saving tackle inside the box to deny Spencer as he ran on to a long ball sent up from the back, but on 71 minutes the final nail was put into the Cooks cup dream coffin as Kolapo chested the ball down to Spencer on the edge of the box to the left and he took a touch before firing home his side’s fourth goal of the afternoon with 71 minutes gone.
Hill-Smith lobbed over the top from fully 30-yards out as Clifton revelled in their comfortable lead, while Knights picked up a yellow card on his debut after catching his man a little late. Dimond followed him into the notebook for a foul just outside the box, but the wall did its job to stop Hines’ shot reaching tis target. Knights had a low cross cut-out for a corner which the keeper punched clear, then Hall had a chance to reduce the arrears as we went into stoppage time, but he had two defenders on his case as he broke into the box and his shot was straight at the keeper. Channell was unmarked to his left, but to be fair the striker would have done really well to have got the ball across to him from this position. Knights found Hall inside the box on the right, but he couldn’t bring the ball under control after the big striker returned the favour, while the final half-chance came for the Cooks after Parkes slipped the ball into the box for Wilson, but his first touch took the ball away from him and this pretty much summed up the Cooks afternoon.
‘A week in football is a long time’, ‘It’s a funny old game’, ‘After the Lord Mayor’s Show’. Pick your cliché, but this could not have been more different from the heroics of ending the unbeaten start to the season of the league leaders last Saturday, but it must be said that Clifton were by far the better team today and thoroughly deserved their win. I’ll take this opportunity to thank them for their hospitality and wish them luck in the next round, and for the rest of the season.
For Biff and Batts it will be a case of making sure the lads put this game behind them and are back to their usual selves when we head back up the M1 to play GNG Oadby Town next weekend. To be honest it was hard work just watching the game in this heat, so it must have been very tough for all the players on the park today, but with the current forecast of 19-degrees in Leicester next week, it should be a much more comfortable afternoon for the Cooks weatherwise.
Not too many players can claim to have performed anywhere near their best today, but for the second game running (very unusual for me), Kieron Mobbs gets my man-of-the-match accolade for his efforts at both ends of the pitch down the left-flank.
Clifton; 1. James Want 2. Lewis Hill-Smith 3. Ellis Chambers (sub 15. Jacob Brandon 65) 4. Sam Leggitt © 5. Jamie Williamson 6. Sam Burrows 7. Aboo Younis (sub 16. Wayde Hines 69) 8. Coden Duncan 9. Sam Harbottle (sub 17. David Kalopo 59) 10. Connor Deakin 11. Callum Smith (sub 12. Ricco Spencer 63). Sub unused; 14. Jack Reid.
Cooks; 1. Adam North 2. Earl Atat (sub 16. Alex Parkes 65) 3. Damian Osoimoejiokhian (sub 15, Lewis Green 65) 4. Dalton Leon 5. Ben Dimond 6. Harley Mallard © 7. Kieron Mobbs 8. Callum Farmer (sub 15. Sonny Knights 65) 9. Jack Connor (sub 14. Jamie Hall 53) 10. Charlie Pearson (sub. 17. Stan Channell 57) 11. Dylan Wilson
Yellow cards; Atat (65) Foul. Knights (80) Foul. Dimond (83) Foul.
Referee; Thomas Burt
Assts; Steve Davies & Nathan Mee
Photos will follow on the Cogenhoe United Facebook page.